The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report into the Conception tragedy. The report sets out the general situation and the timeline of events as laid out by interviews with the surviving crew members.
This comes upon the news that the final body has been recovered and that the remains of the vessel itself have now been raised and are being prepared to be lifted onto a barge in preparation for it to be examined. This is a key stage in trying to discover the cause of the fire, which is as yet undetermined.
On Wednesday, and in part in response due to an interview response by the designer of the Conception “that he believed the fire began in the belly of the boat and involved lithium battery chargers,” the Coast Guard issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin(pdf). This recommended that owners, operators, and masters of passenger vessels immediately complete the following:
- Review the routes and conditions listed on their vessel’s Certificate of Inspection, including the number of passengers and overnight passengers permitted; ensure that crew members are aware of and clearly understand their obligations, including any additional requirements detailed on the certificate.
- Review emergency duties and responsibilities with the crew to ensure they comprehend and can comply with their obligations in an emergency, including passenger safety orientation, and ensure that emergency escapes are clearly identified, functional and remain clear of objects that may impede egress.
- Review the vessel logbook and ensure that records of crew training, emergency drills, and equipment maintenance are logged and current. Additionally, it is recommended that operators complete log entries to demonstrate to the Coast Guard that their vessel is operating in compliance with routes and conditions of their certificate.
- Ensure all required firefighting and lifesaving equipment is on board and operational.
- Reduce potential fire hazards and consider limiting the unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries and extensive use of power strips and extension cords.
- Review the overall condition of the passenger accommodation spaces and any other space that is readily available to passengers during the voyage for unsafe practices or other hazardous arrangements.
The Coast Guard is at pains to emphasize that the above recommendations are precautionary and are not in response to any actual proven cause.
Authorities have been identifying the deceased using DNA analysis. As of now, there have released the names of 27 of our scuba brothers and sisters that perished. May they rest in peace.
Adrian Dahood-Fritz, 40, F, Sacramento
Andrew Fritz, 40, Sacramento
Raymond “Scott” Chan, 59, Los Altos
Kendra Chan, 26, Oxnard
Michael Quitasol, 62, Stockton
Fernisa Sison, 57, F, Stockton
Angela Rose Quitasol, 28, Stockton
Evan Michel Quitasol, 37, Stockton
Nicole Storm Quitasol, 31, Imperial Beach
Tia Salika-Adamic, 17, Santa Cruz
Carol Diana Adamic, 60, Santa Cruz
Steven Salika, 55, Santa Cruz
Vaidehi Campbell, 41, Felton, California
Caroline McLaughlin, 35, Oakland
Kristian Takvam, 34, M, San Francisco
Lisa Fiedler, 52, F, Mill Valley
Yulia Krashennaya, 40, Berkeley
Patricia Ann Beitzinger, 48, Chandler, Arizona
Neal Gustav Baltz, 42, Phoenix, Arizona
Charles McIlvain, 44, Santa Monica
Justin Carroll Dignam, 58, Anaheim
Daniel Garcia, 46, Berkeley
Ted Strom, 62, Germantown, Tennessee
Marybeth Guiney, 51 Santa Monica
Wei Tan, 26, Goleta
Alexandra Kurtz, 26, Santa Barbara
Kristina “Kristy” Finstad, 41, F, Tamrick Pines, California
The Wetpixel community unites in keeping their friends and families in our thoughts. It is impossible to image the grief and loss that they must be enduring.
A reminder that DAN has set up a fund) to help the families of the victims. DAN itself has donated $10,000 to get the fund started and is appealing to the global diving community for additional donations. It is possible to give online. 100% of the funds collected will be distributed equally among the families of the victims.